The name Li Bien translates to “inside” in Chinese, alluding to the way they're made. As you see in the photos, the entire design is created by inserting a tiny, L-shaped brush through a small opening in the ornament and reverse painting everything by hand. It's a slow, complex process that can take up to two days per ornament.
Artists and Pier 1 buyers team up every year to create a collection of Li Bien ornaments so fantastic, there's literally a look that fits every style. Themes ranging from whimsical to traditional to religious to modern are chosen and then artwork, typically inspired by greeting cards or children's books, is custom-designed for each ornament. The end result is a gorgeously graphic piece with a story that circles all the way around the ornament.
The picture of exclusivity, genuine Li Bien ornaments are sold only at Pier 1 Imports stores. And like every work of art, every Li Bien ornament is signed and dated by the artist. The bulb is then packaged in its own handmade gift box. Every ornament is only available in stores for one holiday season. In the 20 years since Li Bien arrived at Pier 1, no ornament has ever been repeated.
- Mixing them in with other ornaments on your tree.
- Setting up a mini-tree to display the year's current collection.
- Hanging your new favorites or old classics on a metal ornament tree.
- Using the ornaments as bowl fillers on your holiday table, mantel or entryway.
Through ornament exchanges or old-fashioned gifting, the story of Li Bien often ends in the hands of another. Due to their collectible nature and nifty gift box, they're incredibly popular for hostess and teacher's gifts. It's also a nice tradition to start with a close friend or loved one, where you gift a new ornament to commemorate another year together. Nothing says “love” like Li Bien.